Sophomore linebacker Sterling Lucas was one of just five true freshmen to see the field in 2008. He finished the year with 14 tackles, seven of those coming in the last two games of the season with a season high of four stops in the Papajohns.com Bowl. With Nate Irving lost for the year, Lucas and his linebacking counterparts will have to step up as a group to fill the void. He talks with Pack Pride about the upcoming season and how’s developing as a player in this Q&A.
How is camp going and how does it feel to finally be able to get back out there and hit someone?
Fall camp is going real good. It’s a lot of competition out there and we’re just working to get better as a linebacker group as a whole.
You got some snaps last year. Do you think that experience will pay off for you this season?
Most definitely. I feel like that experience is going to pay off, the crowd, just knowing how to handle everything. Also, knowing the play book a little better, that’s going to be a positive for me.
Was there any part of the game from last year that you felt you needed to better prepare for going into this season?
The speed of the game as a whole is just a lot different than high school. I guess pass coverage, my coaches said I need to work a little bit on pass coverage, that I can improve on that and there’s still room for improvement.
A lot of fans don’t understand how much work and preparation goes into football during the off season. How important is the time spent during the off season to helping you be successful when the season kicks off.
The off season, that’s the most important part. You’ve got to get your body in the physical shape to be able to perform during the season.
Ray Michel is the lone senior out there at linebacker. How much leadership is he providing to the younger guys?
You know Ray, he leads by example. He watches a lot of film. He lets everyone know and everyone just feeds off him. He leads by example.
How difficult is it going to be for this group to try to overcome the loss of Nate Irving?
Even with Nate here, we still have to play as a collective group. There’s a lot of situations where, if one linebacker messes up, it messes up the whole group. So everyone has to play their own role on defense.
As a whole, how is the defense looking this year?
It’s a whole lot better this year. I think a lot of people are more comfortable. For example, my situation, just knowing the play book, doing everything quicker, getting your reads. I feel like everyone is just a whole lot more comfortable.
The offense seems to get a lot of the press with Russell Wilson, Jamelle Eugene and Owen Spencer. Are people sleeping on the Wolfpack’s defense?
They might sleep on us a little bit but we just come out every day and practice hard and play hard.